RCMP: Chemical reaction in drug lab caused blast at Qualicum home

The explosion at a North Qualicum Beach home was a result of a dangerous chemical reaction inside a clandestine drug lab in the basement, Oceanside RCMP said this morning.

Mounties alleged someone in the lab was using butane to extract and produce marijuana oil. The process includes pouring butane into a glass vial packed with marijuana to produce the hash oil.

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But butane fumes are very volatile, said Oceanside RCMP spokesman Cpl. Jesse Foreman, and any kind of spark can cause an explosion.

“It’s one of the most dangerous things you can do,” Foreman said. “You might be working in an environmental like that and not know” how potent the fumes are in the room.

Three men were in the basement when the explosion happened and were severely injured.

One man was airlifted to Royal Jubilee Hospital, which has a burn unit. The other two were taken to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. From there, one of the men was airlifted to Royal Jubilee Hospital.

Foreman said it’s too early to say if any of the three men will face charges for illegal drug production.

“These people are in serious condition in hospital so we’ve been unable to interview to determine the extent of their involvement,” Foreman said.

It’s unclear if one of the men is the homeowner or if they rented the home.

RCMP and Dashwood Volunteer Fire Department continue to investigate.

kderosa@timescolonist.com

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